It has been crucial for me to examine scripture and my own motives surrounding the issues of faith, sexuality, and gender. For well over half of my Christian experience, I longed for God to bless my sexual orientation as a lesbian and approve of same-sex relationships and marriage. I studied the Bible in depth, seeking this approval. It has been my experience that the following questions seem to be the dividing line within the Christian Church: Does God bless same-sex relationships and marriages? Did God create humans to be attracted to the same gender?
Let’s look at some of the basic disagreements between those who uphold a Biblical worldview and those who embrace the position of the Reformation Project mentioned in my introduction to this series.
Justin Lee, a Reformist and the Director of the Gay Christian Network (GCN), shares his insights on the subject in his essay on the great debate: “I believed, based on what I had read in the Bible, that even the most loving and monogamous of same-sex relationships was evil in God’s eyes. But as I studied the Bible, my view on that subject changed. I now believe that homosexual behavior is appropriate within the confines of a committed, loving, monogamous, lifelong, Christ-centered relationship. Essentially, I’m arguing that a Christ-centered marriage is a good thing, regardless of the gender of the people involved.”
Lee goes on to present four key arguments of those who uphold the traditional Biblical view of sexuality and marriage. Those arguments are:
Argument #1: “Our bodies were designed for heterosexuality.”
Lee views this as more of an excuse than anything else and goes on to state, “If anything becomes sinful just because it wasn’t part of the original design of creation, we’d have to condemn wheelchairs, makeup, open-heart surgery, bicycles, acrobatics, pre-packaged foods.”
Argument #2: “Sex is for procreation.”
Lee states that he believes this position is inconsistent and without scriptural foundation. He says, “In fact, the Bible makes it clear that sex is for other purposes as well; it forms a bond between people (1 Corinthians 6:16) and is a marital responsibility (1 Corinthians 7:3-5). Procreation is only one part of the reason for sex, and many couples have sex on a regular basis without ever conceiving (sometimes by choice; other times not).”
Argument #3: “There are no examples of same-sex marriage in the Bible.”
Lee views this argument as a cultural position. He says, “This particular Traditionalist argument has one other shortcoming. These are supposed to be arguments about why same-sex relationships are sinful; yet this argument doesn’t answer that question. It shifts the issue from “sex” to “marriage,” but it still doesn’t tell us why God would condemn a loving, monogamous, Christ-centered marriage between two people of the same sex.”
Argument #4: “Because God says so.” (aka “There’s a rule against it.”)
Lee defends this position in the following way: “Yep, this is what it comes down to. No matter how wordy, complex, or sophisticated they get, every Christian Traditionalist argument I can think of ultimately relies on this basic principle: God has a rule against same-sex relationships, and even if we don’t fully understand or can’t explain the rationale behind it, in the end we’re just expected to obey, like Abraham sacrificing Isaac.” He goes on to say, “I’m not entirely comfortable with this answer, since it makes God seem arbitrary, and I don’t believe God is arbitrary. By the same token, if God tells me to do something, then I want to obey Him. So if God really does say so — if there really is a divine rule against same-sex relationships — then we need to follow it.”
In the third argument, Lee points out one of the primary struggles I have had with these very arguments: Many well-meaning Biblical Christians never get to the “why” when defending the Biblical view that opposes same-sex attractions and relationships. In my opinion, knowing the heart and motivation behind God’s intended design for sexuality, marriage, and gender is critical. As I read through the Bible, I had formed two basic questions surrounding these issues:
1. What is God’s basic intention for human sexuality, gender, and marriage?
2. Why would He oppose an intimate expression between two committed same-sex individuals in a monogamous relationship?
However, I discovered that these were not my primary questions. Rather, the true questions of my heart were, “Is God good and can He be trusted with my sexuality and relational future? Can God’s Word be trusted enough to evaluate, inform, and direct my life?”
With these basic questions in mind, my next post will address the Biblical view of the four arguments Mr. Lee presented.
Thanks for following my journey. Your thoughts and questions are always welcome.